Leading up to the birth of my daughter, I thought I had everything planned out. I chose a hospital birth, but one without meds. I would attempt a vaginal hypnobirth. Baby girl would go straight to my chest before being measured, weighed and cleaned off. We’d lay skin-to-skin, so she could find her way to my breast to nurse. I wanted her in my arms immediately, and by my side as much as possible.
A week before my due date, I found myself in the hospital with warm goo on my belly, taking a look at just how big my daughter had grown in there. My tummy was measuring on the big side, and the docs wanted to make sure there wasn’t an excess of fluid or anything else dangerous going on in there.
The ultrasound revealed that everything was fine; I was simply growing a large baby. And boy, did my body know it. I had been in maternity clothes and flat shoes by week 5. I had gained 70 pounds instead of the 30-35 that’s ballparked for a singleton pregnancy. The sciatic and hip pains were constant reminders that something big was brewing in there.
My doctor pushed for a c-section after that ultrasound. My daughter would be too big to deliver vaginally, they said. But…that wasn’t in my birth plan!, I thought. Still, I was forced to consider the possibility. We decided I’d be induced the evening before my due date. It was a compromise; it wasn’t a med-free birth, but it didn’t have to mean an epidural, and I’d still have a shot at a vaginal birth. My birth plan could remain largely the same, with modifications for the administration of the induction drugs…and with a contingency plan in case that cesarean was necessary.
After 28 hours of labor and an epidural, my birth plan was out the window and Plan B kicked in. Nora was born via c-section just minutes after my original due date. I had agonized over that decision between contractions, but was ultimately happy for a healthy, beautiful and yes, large, baby girl.
I spent the next four days in the hospital heavily drugged, struggling to nurse, and fighting a mystery rash that was making its way across my entire body. The days seemed long and blurry; I was uncomfortable and foggy-headed. I had a hard time keeping track of what was going on. It wasn’t until many months later that I realized I never got that classic picture of me, holding my baby in the hospital bed, with my spouse by my side. You know; this one?
I regret that I couldn’t give birth like I wanted. I regret that I was so drugged up those first few days (WHY so many drugs??). But I really, really regret not getting that family shot.
We didn’t even think to ask a hospital staffer snap one in the delivery room. I would have settled for a selfie, with Ryan holding our newborn in one hand while taking a picture, arm outstretched, with the other. We didn’t get this shot in the delivery room. Or the recovery room. Or our maternity room. We didn’t, at any point, think to get together for that picture.
We have this picture:
And this shot:
…but not much else from the delivery room. We have countless pictures of our sleepy bundle. We have pictures of every visitor holding Nora. We have pictures of just me holding Nora, and just my husband holding Nora. But a shot of the three of us? Never happened. I hated that the birth of our beautiful daughter still held several regrets for me.
Two weeks ago I was going through our recent photos on the computer to find a suitable one to grace our holiday cards. I soon found myself lost in folder after folder, clicking and reminiscing through every photo on there.
And I came across this. And almost cried. I had forgotten about this picture.
This is me, and Nora, and my sister. And for those of you that know anything about me, you’ll know that my sister means the world to me. She’s my best friend. She understands me better than anyone else. She’s my partner in crime, my confidante, my go-to gal.
This may not be the shot I originally wanted with my husband and baby, but this picture feels just as special to me.
And I’m finding that there’s no regret in that.